Google AdWord Commonly Asked Questions: FAQs

We spent a lot of time working with companies to build and manage Google AdWord accounts. Over time we’ve noticed we get asked a lot of the same questions, so we’ve put together this FAQ blog post to clear some of these up.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords is a very quick and easy way to purchase highly targeted cost-per-click (CPC) adverts to show on the Google search engine.

AdWords ads are displayed along with search results on Google, as well as (optionally) on search and content sites in the growing Google Network. With the huge amount of searches carried out on Google each day, your Google AdWords ads have the potential to reach a very large and very targeted audience.

With Google AdWords, you create your own adverts, choose the keywords you want to show for and only pay when someone clicks on your advert.

Why should I use Google AdWords?

A recent Piper Jaffray study showed that Google AdWords is the most cost effective form of advertising  The key with Google AdWords is you can easily track your ROI (return on investment). This means you can continue to spend money on the areas (keyords) that are providing you with sales or leads and stop spending on those that don’t.

With the number of people searching online for products and services growing each day, it’s vital that you can be found online where and when your customers are searching for what you offer. Google AdWords can be a cheap and easy way to get started with yor online marketing efforts.

How much will it cost per click?

Google AdWords operates on an auction based system. You specify the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for each click and that you’re willing to pay each day. Google will ensure you never go over this budget.

The actual cost per click will vary depending on the keywords you are targeting. More competitive keywords will be more expensive, with less competitive more niche keywords being cheaper. What you pay also depends on the quality of your campaign, your adverts and landing pages, as well as the quality and bidding strategy of your competitors.

Will any business benefit from Google AdWords?

Any business that provides a mainstream product or service would do very well with Google AdWords. Additionally, companies with a very targeted, niche audience (such as those targeting people in a specific geographical area), would also do well due to the ability to target specific groups of people.

How can I measure success?

Google AdWords makes it easy to track conversions from your ads – these conversions can be set up to track whatever you want – from a physical sale to a completed enquiry form or whitepaper download.

Additionally you should track the following areas:

  • Click Through Rate (CTR): The CTR tells you how often people are clicking on your ad after they see it in the search results. A CTR of under 1% indicates that your adverts are not quite right. The message within them could be wrong, you could be targeting the wrong audience, you may have typos or the advert might be too ambiguous.
  • Keyword Status: Google uses this to let you know if any of your keywords have issues. All your keywords should be marked as ‘eligible’.
  • Average Position: The average position column lets you know where your ad is appearing within the search results. You want you advert to ideally be in the top 5. It’s a good idea to also test and track the results you get within the top three positions.
  • First Page Bids: You want to make sure that your minimum bid for each keyword is high enough to land your advert on the first page of the search results. Google will inform you if your bid is too low and will let you know what it needs to be. This is optional – but if the minimum first page bid is out of your budget, you may want to think about removing that keyword and focusing on less competitive terms.
  • Quality Score: All of your keywords will get a Quality Score rating out of 10. Google rewards relevant, quality advertisers with lower CPCs and improved ad positions, so keep and eye on this and make sure you haven’t got any issues.

Can I bid on brand Names?

A lot of large companies do not let advertisers bid on their product or brand names. This can make it difficult if you’re selling items like Blackberries or are a software company selling solutions for SAP. It can be difficult to try and create adverts that use these kind of brand names, so bear that in mind if you are thinking about starting a Google AdWord campaign.

Additionally, if a competitor is using your brand name in their ads, you can contact Google and request that they stop this from happening.

Should I use the Google Content Network?

The Content Network is a range of websites that have agreed to have Google adverts on their pages. Companies can decide whether or not they want their adverts to appear on these website. Generally clicks from the Content Network are much cheaper, but they are much lower quality. If you have the budget available it’s always a good idea to test adverts on the Content Network to see if they provide a return for you. It’s always hard to say without testing whether or not the lower cost/lower quality aspect of this type of advertising will work for you and your company.

What is the difference between an account, campaign, ad group, keywords and ads?

Account: You will only have one AdWord account. Everything relating to your AdWords is done within one account. This includes all your billing and payment options.

Campaign: You can have a large number of campaigns within one account. The campaign level is where you can select your specific options, such as the country/area you’re targeting, the language, search and or/content network and the devices you want to target (do you want to include mobiles and tablets etc). This is also where you set your daily budget. Many people starting out with AdWords will just have one campaign. However those targeting a range of countries or mobile users may have accounts for each of these areas. As you add more campaigns, you daily budget will grow to incorporate the daily budget of each and every campaign in your account.

AdGroup: Within each campaign you will have multiple AdGroups. These groups are where you set your bids. AdGroups can contain keywords that are targeting the search and content network. Each AdGroup will also contain a advert (or set of adverts) that will be shown when your keyword matches a users search query.

Keywords: Your keywords are hosted within each AdGroup and are used by Google to decide whether or not to show your ad to a searcher. Your advert will be down when the keyword, bid and targeting options all combine to determine whether or not your ad ranks high enough within that auction to be shown. By setting individual bids for each keyword you can try to boost the chances of your ads being shown. You can also change the keyword match type, add or delete keywords and also add and delete negative keywords.

Ads: Your adverts are the final piece of the AdWord puzzle. All the performance data relating to your account depnds on what happens when a searcher sees your ad. You can have as many adverts as you want within each AdGroup, but we recommend three as a general rule of thumb. We use more than one at a time as we are always testing adverts to try and improve the CTR – testing the headlines, messaging and call to action combinations to try and boost your clicks.

What are negative keywords?

Negative keywords help filter out the traffic you don’t want your adverts to show for. So you may want to remove terms like: cheap, free, open source, how to, what is, jobs, vacancies etc. These are terms that may trigger your ad, but might come from searchers not looking for to place an order or make an enquiry. Adding negative keywords helps to keep your CTR up as your ad will only show for people who are precisely looking for your product or service with an intention to buy or enquire.

If you have any AdWord based questions that we’ve not answered here or you’d like to talk to us about creating and managing an AdWord account for you, please get in touch!